JP’s Prematch Report (6/17/2017)

North Carolina FC at Indy Eleven — 7:30 PM EST Saturday June 17, 2017

I really thought NCFC was going to win. As I mentioned last week, I had a feeling that the boys from NC were going to surprise the Houston Dynamo when they came to visit on Wednesday for the US Open Cup. NCFC historically has been a MLS-killer in the tournament and the Dynamo were probably going to rest a few players and let some of the backups/young ones from their second division clubs play. This is where clubs like NCFC shine: just look at what FC Cincinnati did last night to Columbus – “A Miracle on Grass”. Or those jokers in Miami. But it just wasn’t meant to be in Cary. And that’s ok.

NCFC earned an early lead in the fourth through an amazing left-footed strike from right back Steven Miller after the Dynamo didn’t properly clear a corner kick. Minutes later, Houston almost equalized through Andrew Wenger after a defensive mistake but his shot hit the post – a sign of things to come. That equalizer came in the 25th minute through Wenger (who went to Duke, so it makes it even worse). NCFC later had a shot cleared off the line but the half ended 1-1.

Matt Fondy came on as a second half sub and almost made an immediate impact. Unfortunately Houston was the first one to come up with a goal after Dylan Remick picked Austin da Luz’s pocket to score in the 62nd minute. Seven minutes later, free kick master Lance Laing did what he does best and delivered a free kick into the opposite corner. I would be curious to see what his conversion rates are from free kicks this season. If anyone has that data, send it on over.

Unfortunately, a “thunder storm” came through the area and the game ended up with a 45 minute delay. A lot of people left, but the true fans remained from the South End

and the North

Unfortunately, Houston got the better of the chances and took the result in the 109th minute with a goal from Memo Rodriguez. Much like Miller’s goal, Rodriguez capitalized after NCFC failed to properly clear a corner kick.

It’s a tough loss to take but there are some real positives. Nazmi Albadawi and Brian Sylvestre shined on the biggest stage, and the team showed resilience to stay the game throughout the 120 minutes. I think there is still a huge problem with the central defense with injuries to Connor Tobin and James Marcelin. If NCFC continues to play with the Ibeagha- Ruhaak partnership, Bolu Akinyode should get a start to be that defensive shield that Marcelin supplies.

The next two matches will be against Indy Eleven, the first one this Saturday away. NASL has its fair share of terrible names, but Indy Eleven might be the laziest. “Hey guys what about ‘FC Indianapolis’ or maybe something Colts or Pacers related?” “Eh, fuck it. Just go with ‘Indy Eleven,’ it’s short and gets to the point.” Also, check out their motto : “The World’s Game, Indiana’s Team“. I hope they didn’t pay an ad agency money for that. They also have one of the most unrelated mascots in soccer besides Gunnersaurus (except he rules).

Indy Eleven haven’t won a game all season, instead drawing seven and losing four. We will see how NCFC does after the marathon match on Wednesday. #CueTheSmoke indeed.

Players To Watch:

Colin Falvey, Indy Eleven : The Indy Eleven captain is coming off a good performance last week against the San Francisco Changes. He will need to be his best against NCFC.

Nazmi Albadawi, NCFC:  He had a great performance against the Dynamo and showed that he can hold his own against players from MLS. His assist tally is lower this year compared to last, but I think he will get some chances against one of the worst teams in NASL.

Predicted Outcome: 2-0 NCFC.

Song of the Week

It’s Pride month, so it’s a good time to join the fun.

Question of the Week

I’m bored, give me an underrated song off the top of my head. – Chris

I guess that’s not really a question, but I’ll run with it anyway. I was actually having a conversation with my buddy the other night about great music videos. I brought up one of my favorites from growing up and my friend had never heard of it. Behold:

Ok this video is ridiculously long but look at that cast: Marlon Brando! Michael Madsen! Michael Jackson! Chris Tucker gets to do his Michael Jackson impression again!

Even if you don’t like the video, I really love this song. It’s a quality addition to the Michael Jackson pantheon. Don’t @ me.

(Cover photo by Rob Kinnan – NCFC)

You can find JP on Twitter at @jp_rcs. Email your questions to